Nancy Galore? Or Pussy Pelosi? The GOP is asking…

From those geniuses that brought you the Patriot Act, “legal” waterboarding, domestic spying, the Iraq war, etc., etc., etc. …

Oh well, at least it’s nice to see that, after 45 years, the imagery from Goldfinger still remains so iconic.

After more than a week of mockery, the GOP finally decided to censor its ownself and pull the video off YouTube.

Not to worry — thanks to the wonders of the Internets, nothing really disappears forever. You can still access the video through the fine offices of the News Pirates website, RIGHT HERE. Thanks, News Pirates!

Ian Fleming — Master of the Occult?

In March of 2008, best-selling author Philip Gardiner published The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond, a fascinating deconstruction of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels by their occult properties. Doing extensive research into Fleming’s life, Gardiner shows the future thriller writer as a youth awash in [Carl] Jungian psychology and Rosicrucian lore. Carefully combing the Bond novels for their occult signifiers — Gnostic, alchemical, numerological, and mystic — Gardiner makes a convincing case that Fleming was heavily leavening his 007 saga with clues and codes for the more adept on his readers to decipher.

The book is well worth your attention, and is available through and other bookstores.

What we want to direct your attention to here, however, is a really terrific interview Gardiner did on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, in this case guest-hosted by the intrepid George Knapp. Gardiner gets very deep into his subject matter here, and lets fly with scads of interesting facts, factoids, observations, and theories. He’s a very good story teller, and he relates the World War II tale of the (in)famous Ian Fleming/Rudolf Hess/Aleister Crowley connection in a quite entertaining manner. If you’re a James Bond fan with a sort of mystical/historical/mysterious bent of mind, you’ll find this to be essential listening. Some good soul has posted the whole thing on the YouTube; it’s a 10 part series, but it’s only mostly the first half that’s pertinent.

Listen up! You might learn something.

In an amusing bit of synchronicity, today’s Telegraph is carrying an article in their “Books” section about Aleister Crowley. It talks of how the infamous magician was the inspiration for numerous villainous characters in novels, including James Bond’s first adversary, LeChiffre. There’s also a brief mention of the Crowley/Fleming/Rudolf Hess story, albeit with some factual inaccuracies. At any rate, go check out The fictional lives of Aleister Crowley, if you have further interest in this sort of thing.

“He played a Penfold!”


If you’re a golfer, and would prefer to use the same gear James Bond did, you’re in luck.

In honor of the Ian Fleming Centenary, the good folks at Penfold Golf are bringing back the famed “Penfold Heart” ball, made famous as 007’s ball of choice in the 1964 film Goldfinger. “Mine’s the Penfold heart,” Bond points out, as he destroys Auric Goldfinger’s cheating scheme on the links of Stoke Park Golf Club.

According to the manufacturer, orders for the ball skyrocketed after the release of the film, as golfers competed to be as uber-cool as the dashing secret agent played by Sean Connery.

The whole story, as well as exclusive ordering information, can be found at the Penfold Golf Limited website. They also have terrific content on the history of golf, the Ian Fleming Centenary, and assorted other manly subjects.

Happy 101st, to Ian Fleming and Ernst Stavro Blofeld

May 28th marked the 101st anniversary of the births of Ian Fleming (real) and Ernst Stavro Blofeld (fictional, as disclosed in the Thunderball novel).

What the hell — happy birthday gentlemen!

Craig and Jackman to do play; so when does Craig play 007 again?

From a Chicago Sun-Times story:

James Bond and Wolverine are headed for Broadway.

Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman are set to star in Keith Huff’s play “A Steady Rain” slated for this fall. Barbara Broccoli, the daughter of legendary “James Bond” film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, is set to produce.

Well, that’s just great. No dates set yet, according to the article.

Meanwhile, recently The Sun newspaper in the U.K. had this quote from Barbara Broccoli’s half-brother, Eon Productions bossman Michael G. Wilson about Bond 23:

“We have started work on the new film, which I can’t say anything about. DANIEL CRAIG is very keen to get going.”

Hmmm. Apparently Craig isn’t that keen.

Let’s do a little math. For a movie to make the Christmas 2010 period, the latest it could start filming is April of 2010 (similar to the schedule for Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997). Given the Craig-Jackman starring duo, it seems doubtful this play will be a limited engagement unless the play bombs. If the play debuts in the fall, could Craig exit it by April of 2010? We’re kind of skeptical.

This would seem to indicate the earliest Bond 23 could come out would be 2011. We’re still thinking 2012 may be more likely given how Wilson keeps complaining the past decade about the exhaustion of producing Bond movies while Eon simultaneously talks about producing its first non-Bond project since Call Me Bwana.

To read the Sun-Times story, click RIGHT HERE. To view The Sun story, RIGHT HERE.

UPDATE: Over at the site, a poster on the message board found AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL G. WILSON on a Norwegian Web site. The poster translates it thusly:

Interviewer: But when will the film be released, will we have to wait until 2011?
Wilson: Yes, I can confirm that. We need more time and don’t want to stress things.

A tip of the cap goes to The Ghost Who Walks, the poster who found the item.

Happy 100th, Richard Maibaum

Tomorrow, May 26, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Maibaum, who worked as a screenwriter on 13 of the first 16 James Bond movies produced by Eon Productions.

Maibaum was among a group of crew members — Ken Adam, Peter Hunt and John Barry were among the others — whose talents were key in launching Eon’s 007 series. According to film historian Adrian Turner, Maibaum received $40,000 for his work on the first film, Dr. No. He got the job in part because of his ties to producer Albert R. Broccoli; Maibaum had done scripts for Broccoli and this former partner Irving Allen in the 1950s. He also had scripted movies for Alan Ladd, the star Broccoli and Allen signed in the ’50s, a move that helped put the producing duo on the map.

Bud Ornstein, a United Artists executive, wasn’t high on Maibaum, according to a memo quoted by Turner. “I have not been impressed by Maibaum’s work and only hope he will come up with something better next time.”

The next times kept coming.

On Goldfinger and Thunderball, British writers Paul Dehn and John Hopkins were brought in to revamp early Maibaum drafts. Maibuam did receive sole screenwriting credit for From Russia With Love (although Johanna Harwood was given an “adapted by” credit) and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (where Simon Raven got an “additional dialogue” credit).

Maibaum’s 007 finale was 1989’s Licence to Kill, where his work was limited because of a Writers Guild of America strike. At least one of the trailer for the film listed Michael G. Wilson as the sole writer and didn’t mention Maibaum. The writer died at age 81 in January 1991.

Maibuam’s papers are housed at the University of Iowa, where film historian Turner studied the various drafts of the script for Goldfinger.

Also, below is an example of Maibuam’s non-Bond work. The video includes clips from Ransom! which Maibuam co-wrote with Cyril Hume. The movie was remade in 1996 with Mel Gibson subbing for Glenn Ford. Maibuam and Hume received a “story by” credit in the remake, which was released five years after Maibaum’s death.

The Bumps and Bruises of the Bond Business

The Times Online has a nice little piece on the Powell family, who for the past two generations have done stunt work for the James Bond movies.

The Powell family is among the best-kept secrets in film, having performed Bond’s stunts for more than 40 years. In 20 films, Fred “Nosher” Powell, 80, and Dennis “Dinny” Powell, 76, or Nosher’s sons Greg, 54, and Gary, 45, have helped successive Bonds from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig do the dirty business of making Bond look good.

If that sounds like fun gig, bear in mind that the elder Powells now have badly impaired hearing (after all the gun use), and a history of broken bones. Still, how many people can say, as Gary can, that they’ve personally trashed seven Aston Martin DBSs within two consecutive weeks?

The Family Who Do Stunts for James Bond is a fascinating look-behind-the-scenes story of the evolution of cinema stunt work, and another chapter in the ongoing history of the James Bond films. It’s worth your attention.

Ken Adam and Maurice Binder discuss Bond films, circa 1980

Ken Adam and Maurice Binder gave an interview in 1980 and discussed their work on the Bond films. Much of what they talked about concerned Moonraker. We have to credit “Mr. Wint” on the Commander Bond Web site’s message boards for finding this.

A Peter Gunn influenced by Maurice Binder?

In 1967, Peter Gunn got the big-screen treatment. Gunn came out six years after the 1958-61 series ended. Craig Stevens even reprised the role, even though all the supporting characters were recast.

Being a movie meant a longer version of the famous Peter Gunn Theme by Henry Mancini. But the main titles may have also been influenced by the main titles that Maurice Binder was doing for the James Bond movies that included a combination of images of women and animation.

Take a look for yourself.

UPDATE: Richard Kuhn, the title designer of Gunn, also did the titles of a 1966 movie based on a television show:

Moonraker’s 30th anniversary

Hard to believe (at least for those of us who saw the initial theatrical release) but this is the 30th anniversary of Moonraker.

The fourth Roger Moore 007 movie often doesn’t get a lot of love (CLICK HERE for one example). Still, the movie has its fans who speak up for it on message boards.

The movie also is worth noting for other reasons. It was Bernard Lee’s final appearance as M. It was the 007 farewell for production designer Ken Adam. It sports an impressive John Barry score. And it was among the select few Bond films nominated for an Academy Award, in this case for special effects.

Anyway, like it or hate it, this is a significant anniversary. The trailer is below.